The Acne-Nutrition Connection

Updated: Dec 11, 2019



It is no surprise that diet, lifestyle and nutrition affect overall health. But does nutrition affect acne? Acne is the most common skin condition, affecting more than 20 million people in the US. The condition has been increasing in all ages over the last half century.


Acne is a complex condition influenced by many variables, including fluctuating hormones, oil production (sebum), bacteria and hyper proliferation of follicular cells (keratinization).


In recent years, scientists have discovered various aspects of diet that can have major effects on the elevation of hormones, proliferation of bacteria and production of oil that can ultimately drive acne.


Acne and Inflammatory Diet



Inflammation is connected to essentially every chronic condition. Western diets (high in hydrogenated fats and sugars), sedentarism, stress and poor sleep all contribute to inflammation.

On the other hand, fruits and vegetables, high in antioxidants and fiber, as well omega 3s, found in salmon, sardines, and anchovies have anti-inflammatory properties.


It is advised to focus on an anti-inflammatory diet, high in protein (45% protein, 35% carbs and 20% fat), high in antioxidants and rich in colorful fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, whole grains and fatty fish to benefit your skin.


Acne is a complex condition influenced by many variables, including fluctuating hormones, oil production (sebum), bacteria and hyper proliferation of cells (keratinization).

This new knowledge of the effects of chronic inflammation make it apparent that we need to start fighting inflammation early in life in order to prevent damage and serious diseases later on.


Acne and Supplements


Supplements that could reduce severity of acne include:

  • Vitamin A: has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and also decreases production of sebum. Vitamin A is found in bright-colored foods, including yams, carrots, orange and yellow fruits. If using above the Upper limit or if pregnant, please consult your healthcare provider for guidance.

  • Zinc: helps lowering inflammation and eliminating acne-causing bacteria. Acne patients are usually deficient in this mineral. Zinc is found in oysters, lean protein, nuts and seeds, whole grains and oatmeal.

  • Vitamin E and Selenium: Selenium is critical for our antioxidant system, allowing glutathione, the most powerful antioxidant in the body to do its job. Patients with low glutathione enzyme activity seem to benefit from Selenium and Vitamin E.

  • Omega 3: Omega-3s called EPA and DHA are the greatest anti-inflammatory compounds found in nature. They reduce the production of two major acne relates chemicals and also lower inflammatory cytokines.


What should I do? We are Here to Help!


Don’t fight acne and inflammation alone, we are here to help you.  It can be challenging to begin to change your diet and find high quality supplements.  Our licensed nutritionist will work with you to help you learn how to make the healthy changes to improve your condition. 



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